What I’ve Learned From Annie – Part Two
In the four years that I’ve been working with Rock Candy Media on the senior team, I’ve seen a ton of changes. When I first signed on, we were working in a small office in North Austin that we shared with a motley crew of startups. We had a handful of amazing clients – big dreamers – that we felt such a sense of accomplishment by growing, but the services we offered were more narrow in scope and focused more solely on branding, content strategy and positioning.
Now after two offices, dozens of clients and four new departments later, Rock Candy Media has blossomed into not only one of the best advertising agencies in Austin, but also one of the most comprehensive and capable.
A year ago, I wrote my first “What I’ve Learned From Annie” blog. Today, on my last day at Rock Candy Media, I’m writing my second.
Ask For What You Want
I’m a timid person by nature and not inclined to state outright what I’m really after. I prefer to just wait and hope that whoever I’m with suggests doing the same thing that I want to do. Annie does the opposite. If she wants a prospect to sign a deal within 48 hours, she asks them sign it within 48 hours. If she wants a client to approve a bold campaign, she asks them to approve a bold campaign. If she wants a creative director to run to the liquor store to restock the office bar, she asks a creative director to run to the liquor store to restock the office bar.
The beauty of this is that Annie has internalized that old chestnut that when you ask for something, the worst thing that can happen is the other person says no. It’s why she’s great at sales and why she’s great at taking clients out of their comfort zone. It also inspired me to ask for what I wanted when I moved to LA to start RCM West and even now as I’m leaving for my next adventure.
Be Loyal To People Who Are Loyal To You
That four year growth I sketched out in the opening paragraph wasn’t always easy. In fact, it was often really, really challenging both mentally and financially. There was a period where every member of the RCM team was working 10 hour days for very little money to keep us both creating great work and building the kind of company that would attract more and more clients. It was a rough, often exhausting experience, but we came through it with an agency that’s built to succeed. Annie wasn’t blind to the loyalty we all displayed during that period and she has repeatedly paid it back in all kinds of ways.
I’m Not Annie
It takes a lot of guts to be a business owner. You’ve got to have wild self-confidence, crazy drive and enough big ideas to constantly be improving. You’ve also got to have the people, money and admin skills to balance budgets, employees and clients. I’ll probably never be a business owner, because, honestly, that’s not me. I think that’s okay though. Through my role at RCM, I was able to meet a bunch of really interesting people, work with some of the smartest strategists I’ve ever met and learn a lot about my own abilities as a leader.
Anyway, I’ll miss all of you, especially my great clients, who made it very hard to leave.
I leave you all with this.